Context: Endothelial microparticles (EMPs) are novel, surrogate biomarkers of endothelial function and have been shown to be elevated in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It remains poorly understood how pharmacological options for managing PCOS affect EMP levels.
Objective: To characterise and compare the effects of empagliflozin vs. metformin on the circulating levels of EMPs in overweight/ obese women with PCOS.
Methods: This was a randomised, comparative, 12-week single-centre trial conducted at the Academic Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Research Centre, Hull, UK. This analysis includes data from thirty-nine overweight/obese women with PCOS who completed the study and were randomised to empagliflozin (15 mg/day) (n = 19) or metformin (1500 mg/day) (n = 20). Blood samples were collected at baseline and 12 weeks after treatment and analysed for specific surface proteins expressed by circulating EMPs using flow cytometry.
Results: In the empagliflozin group, ICAM-1 (p=0.006), E-selectin (p=0.016) and VCAM-1 (p=0.001) EMPs increased significantly following 12 weeks of treatment, but no changes were seen in PECAM-1 (p=0.93) or endoglin (p=0.13) EMPs. In the metformin group, VCAM-1 EMPs (p<0.001) increased significantly after 12 weeks of treatment, whereas all other EMPs remained unchanged. When data were expressed as the percentage change from baseline in each group, no significant differences were seen between groups for any biomarker (p-values from 0.22 to 0.80).
Conclusions: Short-term administration of empagliflozin and metformin in overweight/obese women with PCOS appear to increase EMPs expressed by endothelial cells during their activation.